How Soon Can You Drive After Taking Ativan?

The effects of Ativan generally last four to six hours, but the side effects can last longer for some people. People who take Ativan should avoid operating heavy machinery, like a car, for at least eight hours after taking Ativan.

The benzodiazepine lorazepam (brand name Ativan) is a prescription drug that should not be taken while driving until you know how Ativan affects you, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ativan causes a person to experience sedation, sleepiness, and dizziness which can all interfere with driving or operating any type of heavy machinery.

Ativan has a short half-life and is more fast-acting than some of the other benzodiazepines such as clonazepam (Klonopin). A person’s driving ability may be impaired due to the immediate sedative effects caused by Ativan.

Those who take Ativan in high doses or abuse the drug and get behind the wheel may be more likely to experience accidents or motor vehicle crashes.

How Ativan Works

Ativan is used to help those struggling with anxiety disorders such as panic disorder. It is also used for those suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms or certain seizure disorders.

This medication works by targeting the neurotransmitter gamma-amino-butyric-acid (GABA) in the brain. Ativan depresses the central nervous system (CNS), causing a calming effect for those struggling with anxiety.

This is why it’s important to speak with your doctor regarding the dosage of Ativan you receive. For those suffering from anxiety, Ativan can create a sense of calm and not necessarily impair your driving ability. Take the medical advice of your doctor when determining the right dose for you.

Side Effects Of Ativan On Driving

Driving while on Ativan can be dangerous for those who haven’t become accustomed to the drug in their system.

Short-Term Side Effects

Some of the short-term side effects of Ativan can include:

  • sedation
  • impairment
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • unsteadiness
  • constipation
  • blurred vision
  • dry mouth

Long-Term Side Effects

The effects of lorazepam can be more severe in those who have participated in long-term use or abused the medication. Those who take higher doses of Ativan may experience a greater sedative effect, causing more serious impairment when one gets behind the wheel.

Snorting or injecting the drug can lead to life-threatening concerns. When experiencing extreme impairment, numerous accidents can occur such as car crashes, falls, or drownings.

The long-term side effects of Ativan abuse can lead to reduced inhibitions, causing a person to care less of the consequences and perhaps not see things clearly due to the drug abuse.

Dangers Of Driving On Ativan

One of the dangers of taking Ativan is the potential harmful effects or drug interactions which can occur. If you take multiple CNS depressants and drive, you could increase the risk of accidents due to heavy sedation and other effects.

Also, those with sleep apnea should speak with their doctor before taking Ativan, as the drug has the potential to cause respiratory depression and other breathing problems when abused.

Combining Medications

Combining certain medications, especially other CNS depressants, may lead to heavier sedative effects.

If you plan on driving, the following medications should be avoided while taking Ativan:

  • antidepressants such as sertraline (Zoloft)
  • other benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium) or alprazolam (Xanax), or triazolam (Halcion)
  • opioids such as methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, or codeine
  • supplements or vitamins
  • over-the-counter sleep aids
  • muscle relaxants
  • antihistamines such as clozapine
  • anticonvulsants
  • antipsychotics
  • sleeping pills such as zolpidem

Get Treatment Today

If you or a loved one often get behind the wheel after abusing prescription drugs, we can help.

To speak with one of our healthcare professionals, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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